Manifesta 12 Reveals an Ultra-Eclectic Array of Participants for Its Upcoming Botany-Themed Edition in Sicily

The twelfth edition of the traveling European biennial promises processions, dance, philosophy, and more.

Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe). Photo by Ryan Lowry. Courtesy of Manifesta.
Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe). Photo by Ryan Lowry. Courtesy of Manifesta.

Organizers of the twelfth edition of the traveling European biennial Manifesta, which sets up shop in the Sicilian capital of Palermo this summer, have revealed the first 10 participants and six locations that will host the show.

This year’s theme, “The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence,” uses the garden as a metaphor for diversity and cultural cross pollination that embodies the city of Palermo, which has a long history as a meeting point between civilizations due to the island’s geographic position in the Mediterranean Sea at the crossroads of Africa and Europe. The exhibition encompasses 30 newly commissioned artworks scattered around more than 15 venues throughout the historic port city.

Here’s what we know so far about how Manifesta is shaping up.

Maria Thereza Alves. Photo by Cave Studio, courtesy Manifesta.

Maria Thereza Alves. Photo by Cave Studio, courtesy Manifesta.

  • Brazilian artist Maria Thereza Alves, who frequently depicts plant life, will exhibit an installation dedicated to the floral diversity of Sicily.
  • Gilles Clément, a French philosopher and landscape architect who inspired the title of the show with his book The Planetary Garden, will create an urban garden in collaboration with the London-based design studio Coloco in Palermo’s Zen district.
Jelili Atiku. Photo by Enoh Lienemann, courtesy Manifesta.

Jelili Atiku. Photo by Enoh Lienemann, courtesy Manifesta.

  • Pioneering Nigerian performance artist Jelili Atiku will lead a procession through the city streets on Manifesta’s professional preview day on June 15.
  • London-based collective Cooking Sections have developed a project based on site-specific agricultural irrigation systems that will be installed at various venues.
John Gerrard. Photo by Mark Glassner, courtesy Manifesta.

John Gerrard. Photo by Mark Glassner, courtesy Manifesta.

  • Irish computer graphic artist John Gerrard will present his works at Palazzo Ajutamicristo and Palazzo Forcella De Seta.
  • Swiss artist Uriel Orlow has prepared a video installation on memory and the power of botany, to be screened at Palazzo Butera.
  • Belgian architectural collective Rotor will show an “urban intervention” near Palermo’s Pizzo Sella.
Khalil Rabah. Photo by Mahmoud Safadi, courtesy Manifesta.

Khalil Rabah. Photo by Mahmoud Safadi, courtesy Manifesta.

  • One of the most exciting projects comes from Khalil Rabah, artist and director of the Riwaq Biennale, who will create a market of artifacts at the Botanical garden decorated with assemblages and sculptures inspired by local markets on the island.
Marinella Senatore. Photo by David Chalmers, courtesy Manifesta.

Marinella Senatore. Photo by David Chalmers, courtesy Manifesta.

  • Representing the host country, Marinella Senatore will stage a collective dance movement in the historic city center.
  • And finally, for those for whom exploring the venue is the real attraction, the writer and screenwriter Giorgio Vasta has created an innovative smartphone app narrating the city called “City Scripts.”

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